Guwahati: The overall flood situation in Assam showed first signs of improvement with cessation of heavy rain that lashed parts of the state last week.

"There is a slight improvement of the situation with the respite from downpour for continuous four days and the rivers, including Brahmaputra showed a receding trend," official sources said.

The death toll stood at 35 and more than 12 lakh people were affected in 23 of the 27 districts due to the rising water of Brahmaputra and its tributaries in the first wave of flood this year, they said.

While the Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger mark in five of the six gauge stations including Neamatighat, Tezpur and Guwahati, it maintained a rising trend in lower Assam's Goalpara and Dhubri districts.

Three major tributaries of Brahmaputra -- Buridihing, Dhansiri, and Kopili were flowing above the danger mark, but most of the other tributaries recorded a receding trend, the sources said.

Nearly two lakh people still remain affected in Majuli, Asia's largest river island in upper Assam's Jorhat district,while several animals including about 10 deers lost their lives in flood water in Kaziranga national park.

The core area of 420 sq km of Kaziranga National Park, housing the highly endangered one horned rhinos, is completely inundated and the authorities have issued prohibitory orders on the national highway to prevent the fleeing animals from getting crushed under speeding vehicles.

For the said purpose, the administration has asked vehicles to cross the national highway during a stipulated time.

Animals tend to cross the park through the adjoining highway to the higher reaches in the hills of Karbi Anglong district during high flood.

T Rahman, Kohora forest ranger of KNP, said several deer were drowned but many of them were rescued by forest guards and ferried by boat to higher reaches.

"A round-the-clock vigil is maintained to thwart any plan by poachers, who normally take advantage of the situation, and target the hapless animals, mostly rhinos for their prized horn," he said.

The Pabitora wildlife sanctuary in central Assam's Morigaon district is also under flood water but there was no report of casualty to wild animals.

MPs of the north eastern states in a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have demanded a special relief package for the flood-hit victims, opposition Asom Gana Parishad MP Kumar Deepak Das said.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, now in a personal trip to the US, has announced measures to suitably rehabilitate the flood victims.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is expected to visit the state soon to stock of the situation, the sources said.


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